Cataract is a cloudiness or opacity in the normally transparent crystalline lens of the eye. The human lens is transparent so that light can travel through it easily. With opacification of the lens, it can no longer transmit a clear picture to the retina where it can be processed and sent through the optic nerve to the brain. The vast majority of cataracts are related to age (Senile cataract).
Cataract may be present at birth or in early childhood (congenital or developmental) or may occur due to injury to the eye or may be due to prolonged use of certain drugs (like steroids). Cataracts are 10 times more common in diabetic patients than in the general population.
The early signs of cataract are blurring of distant vision, which may result in frequent change in glasses, increased glare specially experienced at nights while driving or an inability to face light on the face and colors appearing dull. Patients usually refer their vision as seeing things through a smoke screen.
Factors have been identified that may increase the risk of cataract in adults: Aging, long-term exposure to sunlight, smoking or any form of tobacco use, high cholesterol, diabetes, eye injury and drugs like steroids. Patients above the age of 50 or any adult with these risk factors are advised yearly check up by an ophthalmologist.
Surgical removal of cataracts and replacement with an artificial lens (called an intraocular lens) is the only cure for this condition. There is no medical treatment for cataract. Worldwide, it is the most successful surgical procedure.
This is performed as a day care surgical procedure under local anaesthesia or topical anaesthesia.
In majority of the cataracts, the removal of the cataract is done using the modern technology of phacoemulsification, which uses ultrasound energy to emulsify the cataract. After cataract removal, an intraocular lens is placed within the eye for good visual restoration.
The lens used after cataract removal may be monofocal, multifocal, toric, or accommodative. These modern lenses help the patient get spectacle free vision almost immediately. All eyes may not be suitable for all type of lenses, the consulting ophthalmologist will discuss with every patient after examining the various options.
Following cataract surgery patients can leave for home after an hour and resume all normal activities immediately. They will need to use drops as per the doctor’s advice and come for check up as advised.
At Sankara Eye Hospital, the most recent advances in cataract surgery are practised, such as use of ultra small incision to remove and replace the cataractous lens (popularly known as MICS).
The hospital has top of the line equipment, experienced surgeons and apt technology to customise treatment for patients needing cataract surgery.